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THE Miscellany and myself have been friends for many years; hence, when I went across to America, it was with a settled determination to send home any quantity of interesting copy. This promise has been upbraiding me for the last two years, and if you, respected Mr. Editor, were to ask me why I have not fulfilled it long ago, I should be obliged to write in reply a regular book about the manners and customs of the Americans, and for that I have no time. As, however, years may elapse ere leisure to do so be afforded me, I will not wait any longer, but set to work at once to pay my debt, if only in half-a-crown monthly instal


I had better call the stuff I intend to send you, more or less regularly, "Gossip," so that the reader may at once form a correct idea of the nature of my contributions. My sole object is to amuse, and at the same time spread a knowledge of American customs, people, and affairs, through the medium of your pages. What I record is the result of personal observation, and, in consequence, I trust that the frivolity of my style will be overlooked. In truth, it is nearly impossible to write otherwise.

I cannot select a better starting-point than a marriage. I will group my thoughts round the bride, and hang on other ideas wherever I find an opening. The bride is Kate Chase, daughter of our secretary of the treasury; and the bridegroom, the ex-governor of Rhode Island, Colonel Sprague, at present United States senator. Kitty Chase has pleased me most of all the American ladies, and she is a universal favourite here. I regret my dislike for formal parties, or else I might have more to tell you. In my desk lie some dozen undelivered letters of introduction, to men like Montgomery Blair, the president-maker; General Fremont, &c. I had no letter for Chase, but what my friends told me about him and his daughter rendered me very desirous to be introduced to them. Obtaining a note for Miss Albrecht, the dame de compagnie of Miss Chase, I sent in my card, and a young lady joined me, whom I at first took for Miss Albrecht; it was, however, Miss Chase, who helped me most kindly over my trifling social dilemma. She offered me her hand with great cordiality, and said, "We have so many mutual friends that I cannot regard you as a stranger." Was not this amiable, kind, and gracious? It appeared doubly so to me, as I read in her beautiful eyes that the words did not merely come from her lips, but from her heart. Since that day I have spent many evenings at her house.

Kitty Chase is of middle height, but looks as if she would grow tall, for she is extremely slim, almost thin; but the fact does not strike you, as her face is plump, and her chest very full. Her face is oval, and her features are irregular; her nose is retroussée, and her chin rather too long; but the eyes-whose colour I could never determine, owing to their brilliancy are large and enchanting, and so is the expression of the

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pretty mouth. The head is finely formed, and her auburn hair is simply arranged, in accordance with the rest of her toilette. Her demeanour is graceful, and her behaviour in society is unconstrained, cordial, and rather dignified. She prefers the society of gentlemen to that of ladies, and cares little what people think about it, who, of course, do not fail to whisper all sorts of things, as is the case with every lady here who holds an exalted position in society. Kitty Chase is fond of sensible conversation, and recently I heard her talking philosophy very cleverly with an amiable young secretary of the president. Her mother has long been dead, and Miss Chase, it is said, has great influence over her father, who prefers the advice of his clever daughter to that of many of his counsellors, and hence her recommendation is of great weight. If you

On first visit, Miss Chase introduced me to her father. my have an American one-dollar note by you, have the goodness to look at it. Upon it is an excellent likeness of the "Father of the Greenbacks," as the press have christened him. Mr. Salmon P. Chase is a stately, rather tall man, with a broad bald forehead, and a clean-looking beardless face, with a pleasant expression. His two daughters-the younger of whom is still at school-are very like him. Secretary Chase does not speak loudly, but quietly, and his manner produces a very pleasing impression. Although he is at the head of the extreme left wing of the ex-republican party, and fanatic abolitionists-in whose eyes political insanity glares-have collected under his banner, no trace of fanaticism is to be found in Chase's eye; his abolitionism has rather a political than a philanthropic hue, and he employs it as a steam-engine to convey him into the White House.

The secretary of the treasury lives in a moderately large corner-house. The house door is always open: on the left of the hall is the secretary's private study, and facing it the two parlours, which have been formed into one room by removing the folding-doors. These parlours are the reception room, and are furnished comfortably. There is nothing very grand about them, and it can be seen at once that a feminine taste presided over the arrangements: this is more especially visible in the numerous flowers dispersed about the rooms. On one occasion I noticed on a table a bouquet of wild wood and field flowers, which few American ladies holding Miss Chase's position would dream of gathering.

The marriage between Miss Chase and Governor Sprague was a favourite plan of the secretary, and had been arranged two years previously but Mr. Sprague seemed to prefer playing the knight-errant for a while longer in the mazes of love, whose paths are paths of pleasantness, when a man is young, governor of a state, and owner of several million dollars, which his father acquired by a diligent course of cotton spinning. Miss Chase, too, seemed in no especial hurry: all the men who visited her father's house admired her, and handsome major-generals and captains waited on her on foot and on horseback: what more could she desire? The cautious father, however, who had saved no millions as secretary of the treasury, had different ideas: in short, I was invited to the wedding last November. On the card could be read, " Mr. Salmon P. Chase at home between nine and twelve o'clock on the night of November 12." The marriage ceremony was performed in the house, but as I did not arrive till ten o'clock, I missed it, but endured the loss. The company

were not assembled in one room or a suite of rooms, for such are not to be found in American private houses. The house, from the ground floor to the third story, was crowded with guests: they stood, sat, or walked about the rooms, passages, and stairs, which was not disagreeable, as the house was well warmed.

The company consisted of about six hundred persons, and was most interesting to a foreigner, as all the political celebrities were congregated. The crowd was dense though not annoying, although it was difficult to find any one you wished to speak to. The number of gentlemen was far greater than that of ladies, and this was a blessing, as three hundred crinolines could not have found room in the house. As I arrived, President Lincoln was going away. I do not suppose that he left on my account, for we are excellent friends, and have shaken hands several times and how-d'ye-doed, but I suspect he considered he had satisfied the demands of politeness. A coolness had sprung up between Lincoln and Chase, which can be easily explained. Lincoln wishes to be re-elected president, and Chase hopes to prevent him by taking his place in the White House. Mrs. Lincoln could not be induced to make such a sacrifice to etiquette, and was not present. The president has been very accurately described by Russell, though with a slight tinge of caricature, and so I can save myself the trouble. When he steered through the elegant mob with his long arms, he overtopped all, as Saul did the Israelites. Had a European courtier been suddenly transported to this marriage feast, he would have changed into a pillar of salt on being told that this long, Peter Schlemihl looking man, with the thin, yellow, big-nosed, and big-mouthed face, for whom no one made way, was the great Father Abraham, the mighty ruler of the greatest republic in the world.

I did not see old Seward: he had been present at the ceremony, but speedily disappeared. Seward and Chase are opponents, and as Seward has no chance of becoming president himself, he lays his influence in Lincoln's scale, solely to keep Chase out of the White House. His son, Frederick Seward, the assistant-secretary, was, however, still present. He is a delicate, rather sickly-looking man, with a lofty forehead and agreeable dark eyes. He is most polite and amiable, and was especially so to me, so that I felt a great liking for him. Stanton, the war minister, was also present, but fortunately soon left. He is to me the most repulsive character in America, and his exterior harmonises with his brutal, arrogant manner. He understands nothing of war, and still less of the liberty in a republic. He cares nothing for laws, so soon as their infraction will aid in the attainment of his tyrannical designs. This coarse plebeian, however, is an excellent man of business: but he injures Lincoln excessively with the nation, and if the latter is not re-elected, he will owe it to Stanton. The war minister goes to market himself, and buys what he wants, as is the custom here: he does not even take a nigger with him, but carries the heavy basket home himself: I do the same, but am not the war minister. Count P. and I frequently meet at market, each with his basket, and discuss the current prices.

The other military nullity of the great republic was also at the wedding; I mean our so-called commander-in-chief, Major-General Halleck. This man went through a diligent course of military works, and this procured him the reputation of a good general. He formerly com

manded in the West, and only distinguished himself by his proclamations: in the field he has proved an utter nonentity. He arrived too late for the battle of Pittsburg Landing, and before Corinth he allowed himself to be led by the nose for weeks, until the enemy detected his intentions and retreated. He and that pompous braggart, Pope, fed the government and the nation continually with the most impudent falsehoods, which were telegraphed from Memphis. One of these telegrams announced the capture of twenty thousand men, which was pure and unadulterated bunkum. There is a mystery as to how Halleck was appointed commander-in-chief vice M'Clellan, which only Halleck, Stanton, and Lincoln can clear up. Halleck is utterly incompetent for his post, and, at the same time, such a coward that he shrinks from the slightest responsibility. Halleck could have prevented the battle of Fredericksburg if he had done his duty as commander-in-chief, and understood anything. He is a hater of foreigners, whom he and Stanton oppress most shamefully. As regards military affairs, these two men thoroughly hold Lincoln under their thumb. If the president wants anything of the war minister, he does not send for, but goes to him. The impertinence with which Stanton treats the president is said to be astonishing, and he does not allow himself to be checked by the presence of clerks. Lincoln, though a lawyer, has a ruinous propensity for playing the general. Many of his ideas, however, are sound and good, and, were they followed, so many absurdities would not have been committed.

I have not seen Halleck frequently: he hides himself as much as he can from the nation, and acts wisely in doing so. Here I had an opportunity of inspecting him, for he stood in the full light, near the fascinating corner, where a footman was standing behind a huge bowl of punch. Halleck seemed to be mounting guard over the bowl. He was in full dress uniform, and his appearance was as unmilitary as can well be conceived. He had a sword by his side, compared with which Roland's blade or King Arthur's Excalibur would be mere toothpicks. The innocent steel came up almost under the general's arm, and his figure appeared to me wondrously tragi-comical. General Halleck soon evaporated with Stanton, and the atmosphere became pleasant.

The rooms were tastefully decorated, though without any pretension: the principal ornament was a quantity of exquisite flowers, which gave the house a homely appearance. In the first parlour I came across Mr. Chase; he was in excellent spirits, and a most attentive host as usual. I shook hands with him, made a couple of suitable remarks, and smiled and complimented myself into the back parlour, to which the sound of merry dance-music from an adjoining room attracted me. In the back parlour I found many acquaintances, and several of the ambassadors. In European society we recognise officials by the larger or smaller amount of orders they wear on their chest; in America, no one wears an order, except on official solemnities, at which the envoys make their appearance in uniform. At this wedding only one young light-haired envoy was unable to resist the temptation of decorating his black coat with the star of his country.

The room set apart for dancing was of moderate size, and only a few couples were able to figure. Among the dancing gentlemen I noticed

Major-General Stahel and the president's private secretaries, and among the ladies the most remarkable were Mademoiselle Lisboa, daughter of the Brazilian envoy, and the daughter of General M'Dowell, a plump, pretty little thing, very like her father. The general is an intimate friend of Secretary Chase, and it was no undesigned coincidence that the unfortunate general should stand for a few minutes by Chase's side, with his hand on his shoulder. The president's secretaries are very pleasant fellows. The first of them, Nicolai, is a German; the second, Hay, is quite a young man, and was recently appointed assistant-adjutant-general. But I shall have something more to say about them hereafter, as well as of M'Dowell, whom I have frequently met in society.

Major-General Stahel had come from Harrisburg, in Pennsylvania, in order to be present at the marriage of his friend Kate Chase. I am on friendly terms with Stahel, and am glad that I know nothing wrong about him, as I am not compelled to twist and turn in order to conceal it. No one knows anything certain about his former history. Some say that his name is an assumed one, and he is a Hungarian count, while others declare that he was a publisher's assistant in Pesth, and on Georgey's staff during the Hungarian revolution. He says nothing in the matter, but lets people talk as they please. In America, people only ask after a man's past life in Europe, if it has been brilliant: ocean washes away old-world sins in the passage across, and everybody is at liberty to adopt a fresh name. It is said that Stahel fared very badly here at the outset, and was compelled to earn a livelihood by very menial trades. But that is no disgrace here. To-day, a man may open oysters in a bar-roomwhich negroes principally do-to-morrow, he may deal in cigars or drive a cab, or be a muleteer like General Hooker, without losing his claim to the title of a gentleman, if he only manage to behave as such. Stahel possesses the great and invaluable gift of silence: by holding his tongue he has attained the rank of major-general, for neither his heroic deeds nor his eloquence made him such. He told me nothing about his past life, and it concerns me but little. I like the man as I find him. In New York he formed the acquaintance of General Blencker, and entered into a bookselling speculation with him, to which an end was put by the When Blencker raised his regiment, Stahel became his lieutenantcolonel; and when Blencker became a general, Stahel was appointed colonel of the regiment. When Blencker received a divisional command, Stahel became a brigadier. Blencker was incautious, talked too much, and was shelved: Stahel was cautious, and held his tongue, and became a major-general.


Stahel is a man of about forty years of age. He is of middle height, gracefully built, and has a head whose shape indicates a Sclavonic origin. His dark hair is curly, his complexion yellow, his eyes brown, and his mouth pretty and sensual. A lady told me the latter fact. His conduct agrees with his appearance: I never heard him utter a low expression, nor has he ever done anything unworthy of a gentleman. He is a great favourite with the ladies, to whom his discretion is a special recommendation. His silence and the ladies raised him to his present rank. Stahel received the command of the cavalry in Washington district; his measures to secure the city were excellent, and his men were remarkably attached to him. He quarrelled with Hooker after the latter's defeat at Chancellorsville, and finally resigned his command, as, owing to new

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